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  CSPAN    U.S. House of Representatives    News  News/Business. Live coverage  
   of House proceedings. New. (Stereo)  

    October 31, 2013
    2:00 - 4:01pm EDT  

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before coming to washington, d.c. ladies and gentlemen, please ve a warm welcome to valerie jarrett. [applause] >> well, good morning, everybody. you look fantastic out there. we are also delighted to be here. i would like to begin by congratulating secretary pritzker who has hit the ground running since her appointment. she has not only traveled around the world, but she gave a party and everyone showed up. i also want to give credit to former secretary gary locke who for this ainchild
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few years ago. please stand up so we can welcome you. [applause] you will be hearing from president obama later today, but that me say a few words about why this summit and why select usa are so important. for the president, encouraging investment in the united states is a core part of his strategy to build and grow our economy. the u.s. remains the largest economy in the world, and is the largest recipient of direct investment from foreign countries, as the secretary mentioned. the competition from your partnership is fierce. it is global. the united states can no longer rely on being the biggest economy or the obvious choice. we have to work every day to do our very best. select usa is the result of it the president's broad commitment -- makeit clear you're
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it easier to do business. we are centralizing resources to give information and assistance you need to navigate the u.s. marketplaces. that is why it is so important we are joined i representatives of state and local governments because they are partners in this effort. he should leave today with resources and relationships that you need to make select usa work for you and for your businesses. put simply, we want your partnership, and we are going to work hard to earn your trust and your confidence so you do select usa. i am thrilled to be joined on the stage by a great panel of business leaders who can offer there's perspectives on why the united states is such a dynamic destination for your capital. first, let me introduce larry fink, the chairman and ceo of blackrock. he has been a great partner to the administration. we have benefited greatly from
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his global advice about the economy. he is the largest asset manager in the world, and his counsel and advice have been important over the last five years to the president and his economic team. group of very a large global investors several months ago, and that was the fruits in the beginning of our decision to have this large conference today, so, larry, thank you for your leadership and for being here. please join me in welcoming larry. [applause] next i would like to introduce angela, the chairman and ceo of dow chemical. every week.lmost he is the kind of ceo who rolls up his sleeves and is not shy about his advice. he serves on a president's council and was appointed co- chair of the advanced partnership.
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someone whose advice and counsel we appreciate. please join me in welcoming angelo. [applause] simon, theed by bill president and ceo of walmart usa. we work closely with bill and walmart on a range of issues important to the president and our comedy. this summer bill confided secretary pritzker to florida where he had a conference of many of his major suppliers encouraging them to invest in the united states, and he has been a partner with the administration on a range of issues, including the first lady's let's move initiative, and also taking an important position to encourage veterans to look the walmart as an opportunity for a job after they leave the military, and has set a standard that is very hard and high for everybody to match around the country, because after serving our country, the least we owe our veterans is a job when they return home.
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these welcome bill with us as well. [applause] last i would like to introduce and the, gene sperling, secretary gave him credit he so wells deserves for helping put together this forum, but he is the longest-serving director of the national economic council in ourtion cost history, -- in nation's history. he is the brain behind all the president's major economic initiatives and has put in place -- and he is a force to be reckoned with within white house. he is known for coming in early and staying late and burning the midnight oil that has given his heart and soul to our country over many years. these join me in welcoming genee. -- gene. [applause] off, and ithings
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would like to ask an opening question about why businesses or investors should be bullish on opportunities in the united states. can you give us your sense of raw specs for the u.s. economy and why the united states is a good place for investment, given global opportunities, larry? >> i can answer that in two parts. one is at an investor who helped companies come to markets in bond markets and as an investor in companies worldwide. first and foremost, we have the most resilient capital markets in the world. we have the safest capital markets in the world. creditrs ago we sarbanes-oxley-oxley, and 10 years later we have now witnessed more ipos than ever before. we are seeing young companies
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coming here, but not just mr. companies. we are seeing more international companies seeking to come here. the primary reason as an investor, we have more confidence in the financial statements of these companies, especially young companies, that we do not have a long history understanding and they do not have a long history of having strong and robust financial statements. but you feel much more confident that a regulatory process, which sometimes is so maligned in this absolutely it is wrong, companies are now seeking to come to the united states to find sources of capital, because the investors worldwide are willing to invest in the u.s. than theseh more other exchanges worldwide. that is a first and a really unspoken issue related to the united states today, and today we have a couple large companies that are talking to the new york
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stock exchange for a listing that would be a real statement ofut the difficulties investing overseas versus bringing their companies here and listing here in the united states. an investorto, as in these companies, and most of the out there, because we are the largest owner of equities worldwide. let me talk about the united states specifically which makes us so instructive on the country today. first and foremost, we were the quickest to resolve our aching crisis. ranking crisis. europe is going to the third round of stressing their banks. we did that for years ago. our bankingof that, system is asterisk ever. the weakness of our aching system, -- of our banking system, there is not enough money for loans, and you cannot save that for other parts of the country, and linking that the
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capital markets, we have the most robust banking and loan market. the drag on our economy from housing, despite there are still great pains related to housing, but we went from housing markets that had over 5 million excess homes to an economy where we will be building 700,000 homes today. that will add jobs, opportunity, and will be a source of commerce for all companies that are components to housing. let me add one more component. as housing and construction bills, small business does because a major component of small business is in the form of construction. the third reason why i am instructive is our industry sector. that only a few years ago people did not realize the change of technology and what that has done in terms of extraction of carbon and
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refining of carbon. i am sure and you brew will talk about this in a minute. will talkre andrew about this in a minute. we have gone from a country that has on very dependent from importation of carbons to a .ountry that exports carbon this will be a major change, and as we see mexico changing and the verbalizing their energy law, it will only empower texas and other components of this country, and i believe having a stronger mexico only makes the united states in even stronger. become another major component. let me talk about a few things that people just do not talk about enough, and that is our energy cost. two majorck, we have data centers. one in washington, on the columbia river, and one that we are building right now in buffalo, new york. we are paying approximately 3
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1/2 cents per kilowatt. if i had to do these data centers in europe, i would be paying $.18 per kilowatt. of europe, it is over $.80 per kilowatt. we have cheaper energy, have cheaper cost of energy for manufacturing, and then the last thing, why i am very constructive on the united states and where we spend a great deal of time is our educational system, which unfortunately a lot of people malign that today. later,ll be discussed but we actually have more than any otheras country in our educational system. what you come here? it is not just the quality of education, but the type of education. some of the disadvantages of education globally, so many or talkre taught rote
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fax. this may work very well or testing scores, and i'm not trying to diminish that at all. but i do believe that the advantage of the american style of learning, which should get more credit, is the ability to be thoughtful and critical thinking. hired 1100yer who year, i will tell you over 80% of our employees come from u.s. universities. we will continue to have that position. as an employer who has offices in 38 countries, the bulk of our employees come from the united states universities, and what we are looking for, people who know how to think and think creatively. >> thank you, larry. let's shift the bill. as our nation's largest retail, you have sourced from all over the world. you made a decision to increase
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your sourcing in the united states. could you give us a perspective on why that decision was made? >> thank you. let me thank you and the secretary and the president for their interest in energy around this initiative, because it truly is an incredible time in the history of the country and in this particular area. it is a math equation. the math equation is never in a generation or maybe longer been more favorable for investment in the u.s.. we just heard about energy costs. that is one component. and the labor and transportation components that earlier in decades led to the migration of some manufacturing outside the unit as are all in our favor. if you think about it, the math equation favors expansion of manufacturing, and so earlier this year we made an announcement that we were going to increase our u.s. purchases i $50 billion in 10 years.
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years, $50 billion in 10 it is not $5 billion year, it is projected to be about 250 billion dollars in additional spending over the next 10 years. it is a major commitment and it is done because of math and economics for us. as you mentioned, we hosted a bit of a summit similar to this of all the suppliers that we deal with and the state and local governments that we heal with, brought everybody together in orlando and kick this off. we had 1500 people in 34 states and eight governors george us, and the exciting thing was we had an outcome that launched hundreds of projects. we have been able to announce initiatives that will add 1600 jobs to begin to get this ball rolling. after the event today we are going to make an announcement with three more great companies invested in u.s. manufacturing today. we hope you all keep an i out
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for that. it is an exciting time and the opportunities for the us, and one of the points i want to make and everybody should take note of it is there is a significant and distinct first mover advantage. local are a state or development officer, there's a distinct first mover advantage because as you begin to build capability and get investment, you will get component parts from it, and we have seen manufacturing in investment grew that way. be first. if you are an investor looking for an opportunity to invest money, there is a distinct first mover advantage in markets as we go forward. for our part, as the largest retailer in the world, and in the u.s., we believe and see the interconnectivity of the global economies, at a healthy and vibrant u.s. economy is very important to the global economy. investment in the building of the amount can -- of the and the middle class
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many tertiary sector will make us a more robust economy so we can trade better with our partners. just the laws of efficiency would suggest with transportation costs increasing, the availability of inexpensive u.s.,nd energy in the free and stable and lowest interest rates in a particular member which just now is and it is immediate. as we think about where we are going and how we are going, we are very pleased to be able to participate. from our part, certainty is important, important how we deal with each other, how we deal with business. what we can provide is the certainty of a purchase order or contracts, so as companies look to establish and build weufacturing bases in u.s., are changing our policies and making more longer-term
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commitments so they can't have the certainty to invest capital here. if we can output any decisions, we have a team that we have put in place and they are ready to serve and ready to do business. we appreciate being here and look forward to the rest of the panel. thank you. bill.nk you, andrew, speaking of manufacturing, you have worked closely the administration over the last five years. on a rangevised us of issues that would make the united states more conducive to investment and manufacturing, one example being corporate tax reform so we reduce the rate for manufacturing and how that helps spur additional investment. give us the sense of being a global player in the coming from australia, give us a sense of what you think is a special about the united states. >> thank you, valerie, enter the panel here, and congratulations to being the decision
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part of team usa and the conversation we are having here. one thing that valerie did not mention is as an australian, global citizen, that has been with the great dow chemical company for 37 years, 22 of which i spent in asia, around china, when i came back to the united states over a decade ago, i was struck at the conversation going on in america that did not include manufacturing. how red manufacturing in america, and the psychology of consumers and our media and everywhere was assembly-line, smokestack, and it was yesterday's manufacturing. we had done it to ourselves. the notion that label costs would drive the manufacturing there had become what everybody leave it. so i think you did not mention this, but i read a book in my spare time as i travel to grow, looking at what -- as i traveled the globe, and they've recognized two important parts
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of the manufacturing value chain that the administration has embraced and which i applaud. i'm sure jean will touch on -- gene will touch on tickets that, that where production follows, innovation goes. the ecosystem we celebrate in this great country run universities and institutions and government r and d and how that is a precursor, the famous l labs and love labs that receded them, p 70% in the and d is spent in the manufacturing sector for the reason. you understand the stakes, you attach researched it, and the next iteration product occurs from that. that ecosystem was not in the national conversation until the last several years. by putting it into the conversation, we can reverse the trend, that we can actually keep an ovation here. this day fact from a china
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perspective, i would go around the world, in 1990, china had owned --b- so they have gotten it, and it is not just in china come it is germany, singapore, thailand, that compete as companies, these countries. for the united states the at this notion that it should be competing for business like a company was not about the government or small government. that comes down the debate. down the debate. instead, it sets the rules of the road that lets the united states to become a gold medal athlete. it needs that liquidity, the financial system, the be the very best. larry talked about it that. it means the nervous system and the brains to be that fast, the innovation center, and bill and others touched on that as well. the imp is to actually build
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thevation ecosystems around country, not with new money, but directing money between the public and private sector in a smart way. what is the brawn? natural resources, in this newfound energy advantage in the united states and building it -- putting it to good use to allow the united states become an export machine but to really take not just liquids, but solids and actually -- the athletic brains of the broad usan and liquidity -- team is there. as far as i'm concerned, as i travel around the world and i come back to the u.s. and i get asked where is the bright spot here, it is here. as for -- it is a four hours to squander. we can definitely get it wrong, and we have got to get all must to get it right. tog story short, i think your question, advanced manufacturing of the nanotechs,
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sustainable manufacturing, sustainable supplies, advanced manufacturing of robotics, of the bio kind, that is all occurring at the intersections of markets and sciences. and the united states, the course -- because of his entrepreneurial system, because of what it teaches in the schools, specially universities, because of the ways kids grow up in the system, to look at opportunity, not a problem. to go at the answer, to work out the how to make the path were great, how to reduce the human footprint on the problem -- on the planet -- these are the things that make united states the attractive part of the work to invest in, because you can do it here. 70 are sent of all the dow r and inn united states is done the united states. right now the united states is unbeatable for that. second, the value added on
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resources, how is putting its money where its mouth is. we're putting 5 billion dollars against the national gas advantage that was talked about. we are putting thousands of jobs at work or at -- at work. this will create up to 2 million jobs in the next several years. a lot of that will be exporting brains and of course a little bit of iran. >> thank you, andrew. [applause] having heard from these three global business leaders, gene, i know one of your strengths is officiating the long-term growth of our country rests with private sector job growth. help the audience understand how in creating policies you think about the comments you've heard this morning and what you have heard of the course of your tenor and how you make decisions accordingly. >> ever since president obama
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was first running for president, he very much had a focus on what you have to do to lay the foundation for the private sector to make the united states a magnet or job creation. i think in 2011 there was a bit of a sea change in the following way. you started to see some of our consultantsess coming out with a message, which was quite a change to their clients. it was your analysis on cost that has led us in the past to recommend you considering locations, other places, those cost calculations have changed. when you look in the future over the next 10 years, which is what you should be looking for for location decisions, the wage productivity factor now has turned around and will favor the united states, number one, and o, the realization of
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the natural gas cost advantage. ater011, is also a gre realization that there were hidden costs in having an overly diffuse and remote supply chain, and perhaps that was spurred by the natural disaster in japan, but all of these started leading to more reconsideration, which of what people were advising our own companies about this is also going along, as andrew said, if the president trying to make a focus that we should be looking at manufacturing, location, like we look at r and d. it is an innovation strategy. that location matters and has sick again spillover impacts. significant spillover impacts.
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wind at ours more back, and the president would be at his job's counsel where people would disagree, and yet you hear from both labor and say ceo's, where they would the u.s. may be the most competitive for location of jobs as it has been in three decades. for the president policy wise, you look and realize this is a moment of opportunity, to have a positive trend, you want to put wind at its back. advanced -- on manufacturing front, we have started partnerships and will soon announce the second, third, and fourth of our network and manufacturing innovation hubs. we have had to focus on higher education, all the things that are important to stability, attractiveness of jobs, and we were successful, as you saw yesterday, and having a dramatic
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fall in our deficit so our path is more stable than it was. but we do think that more needs to be done. i will put it into categories. one or more additional policies that we need, cooperation from our congress to implement, to help make us more competitive and more attractive to you, and, second, is how we organize ourselves and the messages we send, which we have a little more control over. on policies, some of the things the president is pushing right now, which do for all our partisan have more support than you would think, is comprehensive immigration reform, which would increase the need for skilled labor that many people say is critical to their location decisions. so this is a very top priority of the president come as is making sure our training programs are more demand than, that we are working, you and community colleges, so if you want to locate here, there's
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someone who says if you are a little unsure whether there is a particular skill need that may not be met in a particular location, that we will work with you to make sure there is a time -- a training program that works for you. that is one area. the second area which the president has put out is to have a grand bargain on jobs where you would lower the corporate tax rate, have a lower corporate tax rate, and at the same time use some of the one-time funds to strengthen our infrastructure so that your supply chains can move more quickly. these are important components we have to do. the third one is that we have to give and we fight very hard on this a greater sense of stability. i guess you could say we want more manufacturing and less manufactured crises. we have not been at our best the last month, but i think the future looks brighter in painting a picture of stability. now, the thing that is under our control is the signals we
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send. we had to recognize there were places where the signal that the president wanted to send was not coming through. one or two high- profile cases by be sending a signal that we were not open for business. we want to make clear. this is not a seen a phobic nation. if you want to come here and played by theune, rules, and invest in the united states, creating jobs, we do not just tolerate it, we welcome you with open arms. a lot of motivations for this select usa conference was to in a very bold wait make that abundantly clear. secondly, how do we organize ourselves? the united states has generally organized itself in our embassies, etc., in ways that focus on commercial advocacy and export promotion. our efforts at recruiting in united states, and this goes back administration after administration of for decades has been more ad hoc.
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that is not good for us because we do not have an organized way of encouraging people who want investors to invest here, but not good for those who want to do it either because it can seem ad hoc. it is not clear who is going to hell. when the president comes today, what he will talk about is a to, for the effort first time ever, have the united tates make an the encourgment of foreign companies to create foreign investment here in the united states. and this is not just an empty phrase. we are engaged in a very serious effort of having unprecedented coordination between congress department, the state department working together with valerie, myself and others in the white house economic team. and what this will mean is that
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in the 32 to start, in the 32 snations that make up over 90% of the f.d.i. right now. for the first time ever there bb a team led by one interior and they will have as one of their core missions now for the first time encouraging and facilitating foreign investment in the u.s. and they will have one channel they will go to to the headquarters of u.s.a. so you will have one stop shopping. you will have one place you can go to to look at visa issues, regulatory issues, state and local issues. and when it's help to feel talk someone in the white house, props even the president or vice president themselves we'll have a process for doing that. that is the major announcement
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we're making today. 20 or 30 years from now you will still see this organization in place and people will wonder why the united states didn't make a part earlier this type of of broader select u.s.a. reform. >> thank you. i think historically most of our investments here in the united states has come from europe. today we have people from africa, from south america and from asia. i guess i would ask the business leaders to respond to gene's comments and is there more we should be doing and should we change our strategy given there is opportunity for more global investment shown here today than has historically been the case. >> i have the advantage of talking to c.e.o.'s worldwide. and in every conversation i have
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they are asking about how can they find more opportunities here in the united states. so many manufactures are trying to rep kate what andrew and dow chemical are droing. they witness the cost of energy being 75% cheaper here than in other places in the world and as a result of that they are looking to move more and more manufacturing here. because of her educational system more technology companies from korea and japan and parts of europe and china today are looking to have foot fold in the united states today. we're not an accident of a country. i think we as a country when we have a problem, we expel the problem and we always undersell ourself as a nation. but the opportunities today because of natural gas, because of the oil production here,
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because of our educational system and mostly also because of her capital markets, more and more companies worldwide are look to add facilities here or a research center here. and i do believe we are going to continue to see this being driven. and this is not just going to be a by coastal phenomenon. it's going to be in the heart land and in texas where we have such cheap energy. i was in india a couple of weeks ago and one of the largest manufacturers is now building a plant in idaho because of the cheap natural gas and oil. i visited one of the largest egyptian companies recently and they are building another plant here in the united states because of this. i actually believe we are underestimating the power that we have as a country and effort
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i travel overseas i'm asked why aren't you more bullish yourself. why is your country acting like you have a problem? from our per specive this is the biggest opportunity we see in the world. >> i would add that we're in 160 countries around the world and i get to travel. clearly i recognize what i'm doing here. i'm the c.e.o. of a global company encouraging u.s.a. investment. fy go to another country wouldn't they ask me to do the same. at the end of the day advantages rarely sell themselves. have you to channel those advantages. i've never seen the partnership between u.s. embassies as good s it is now. i would tell you when i go see
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all the sbors that we have, there is a whole new mind set around crating not just for american companies going to those countries but the other way around, the act to get the advantages that america has, the invasion, the newfound energy advantages, the governance systems and the trance parn si of those tapped rules are the rules are the rules. there may be dysfunction nalt in this town which we have to over come. that is one of the reasons we get cynical views. they say you're the greatest country on earth but you can't manage yourself. but the natural advantage of the world's largest consumer market the energy advantage, they sell themselves. what do you have to go to the next step to be team u.s.a. and help this? i think this notion i had earlier that nation states compete like companies.
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we have to make our incentives clearer. remove the notion it's all about subsidies. everyone thinks it is a level playing field. it is not. and establishing the principles of free and fair markets for mutual access. that's an american ideal we should be pushing as hard as we can to set the standard on trade. 16% of the global g.d.p. is manufacturing but 70% of the world trade. we have to do it in businesses like mine. that encourages us to go to places where we'll be treated fairly and the emerging markets. >> so i did -- i was in south america, europe and asia in the last six weeks, a lot of travel
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and met governmental officials in every country and every one was asking how can we create jobs. and the one thing that is very clear when you look at the ten-year trend in the united states, as we all know the manufacturing process has been so refined that the human element of manufacturing has been reduced dramatically. obviously this presents some social issues worldwide and issues every country is facing right now. because of rule of law andrew just discussed, because of our advantages in cost of energy, and also if you look at our work force and if you look at wages worldwide there has been a compression of wages worldwide where ten years ago people spoke about places in
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the world where it was much cheap tore manufacturer. if you add transportation cost tapped cost of rule of law and the cost of energy, this is why more and more countries -- companies are trying to come here. this is why i'm asked in every country today how can we create jobs and they are feeling insecure about the opportunities here. >> if i could add, we buy and sell products all around the world. and we're at competitive as anybody in the u.s. but this isn't about us or somebody else. in a global interconnected world, efficiency would suggest that production occur closest to the point of con sums. as we talk about this the emergence of demand in middle class growth all across the world is going to absorb the consumption capacity that exist today. i think we're looking at a fantastic opportunity.
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and we're very excited about it. i think this panel is a great example of it. we have an administration that is making effective moves to support policy decisions that will encourage it. we have capital markets ripe for it. we have manufacture, one of the world's greatest manufacturers saying the manufacturing and invasion that exists today favors expansion in the u.s. and we have somebody from the consumer market saying you have ready, willing and able buyers and consumers. i don't know what more you can ask for to understand there is an opportunity to take action now. so i'm excited. >> gene mentioned immigration reform and it's interesting because we've seen an evolution of thuske coming from the business community for comp henive immigration reform. i wonder if you can say how that
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factors into our global competitiveness and the global economy impact. >> i would say i was with one of the more important leaders of europe this past summer. and the leader said to me if the united states passes an immigration law, shame on the rest of the world because we're going to be envious of the united states. that's part won. shame on us we haven't passed that immigration law right now. second of all, i do believe it would be dramatic in the future growth rates of the united states. first and foremost, we have 1 million people who are living in fear. they had a path towards citizenship, think about the new house that is would be purchased and the construction related to that. one of the difficulties we have and i'm sure everybody has difficulties in trying to get
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visas for some of the really smart foreigners who are graduating in our graduate schools and undergraduate schools having a hard time to be a permanent resident or citizen here and that process is going to make it more advantageous to us. it's a problem for many dops have more workers. they are going to be productive workers that will stimulate the economy and buying houses and adding to people's livelihood. and third the immigration bill is going to be a standard that will set us apart as a nation and through that standard in my opinion is going to drive more and more commerce coming here. thehere is no question that sell rate tors to this great
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position we find ourself in as a country is no more important than immigration. there are gaps in the work force we are all filling in some way. it's not perfect and it's very difficult. there are 600,000 stem jobs in this country open right now that we can't get enough qualified candidates for. so we do everything we need to do to get the retraining and skilling. dow put a $250 million grant to ten universities in this country to rebuild chemical and evening nearing departments. many companies are doing everything they can and not just t the pd master's level. many of us have community colleges to get the modern factory worker trained, the modern technically skilled
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person to work with robotics and nano technology or manufacturing. all things i've said earlier, we're doing ourselves but we're aren't as with stem. we are going to rebrand the notion that stem is something that our own work force should be excited about. you're right, everywhere i go the issue before the world is we jobs. creating enough youth unemployment is a chronic issue in most countries. the jobs of tomorrow in the case of the united states economy of today, our education system needs to catch up, our immigration system needs to catch up. we can be the standard setter. we can be if we pass immigration reform and really get the flow of human talent to this country and wherever they may come from, even australia, if we can get
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them in and be part of this system, all the advantages are here. i can think of no more pressing issue for team u.s.a. than immigration reform. >> i would agree. if you think back in our history, every major growth period we've had in our country's history has been led by immigrants and we are a nation of immigrants. if you believe in free enterprise, you have to believe in immigration and the talent tabbed capability. and the shoppers and consumers that immigration would bring would help fuel and drive that next level of growth. i think as we evaluate how we go forward, moving forward without addressing that issue, i think would leave a problem that has been in existence in the country for quite a long time unaddressed and could actually slow and dampen the opportunity that is exist. so i'm very pleased that is one of the topic that is is going to
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be addressed hopefully in the next few months. >> absolutely a top priority of the president. >> in the opening remarks, several of you mentioned skills. this is something that gene also has been working on for a very long time. i'd like gene to share a little bit in terms of your perspective on everything we've been doing to improve skills. i would mention last friday president obama informs new york and he went to a school that was created in partnership between the city of new york and ibm and the goal is to get young people excited and passionate about math and science and technology, engineering, computer science, stem as we call it. and one of my hats as the chair of the white house council on women and girls is particularly to figure out ways to get young girls interested. if we can capture them young and keep that passion going then
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they will pursue fields in stem and fill those open jobs. >> the immigration discussion is a perfect lead in to this because the add tute that some people might have had in the past as why some people would resist immigration or high skilled immigrants coming here is some notion that it's like a zero sum game. there is a set pot of jobs and if a high skilled immigrant comes in, that means somebody in the united states is going to do worse. but this whole conference we're having here is about the fact that's not the way the world works, that there is a global competition for location. and the message the president has had very much on immigration is that if the three people here can hire and yourselves can hire the people that you need to fill the jobs you need, that you are
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more likely to locate in here and that will be a plus for job growth, not a negative to our people. and so again, in the sense of us as an open arms country, the support right now that immigration reform has very much goes to the support there is for foreign direct investment here as well. people want to see the bottom line, what's the impact for job creation? now obviously, we don't want to fill that skill gap simply through high skilled immigrants. we want to build our own pool. i think we've tried to take a multifaceted approach. one of the things valerie has mention sd we as a country do not do well getting all of our populations interested in the science, technology, engineering math professions they want. so you have to thate at every approach. someone starting early, getting rid of the strange social pressure that seems to make
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girls superstars until they are in their addless nt years and then they lose interest. encouraging more young people from minority communities to choose stem skills and professions. and then also one of the things that we've partnered well with the business community is we find there are a certain number of our young people who the idea of just academic study doesn't grab them as much but when we can go to a high school that is connected to a particular company where they are going to in four to six years finish school and have a degree and be in line for a certain job, it exites people and build that pool. one of the things we're trying to do is build the pool of the people getting the skills that are needed to fill the jobs that you want to be filled. the second thing is our new secretary of labor has a great expression. he says we can't have a training
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policy anymore which is on the theme train and pray. the training has to start with understanding what are the needs , what is being demanded from the private sector. if there is one thing the president will want to focus on and have his whole administration focus on is to make sure that all of our training programs start with are they demand driven. are we talking to particular companies and understanding what the needs are in a particular region? one of the companies, obviously, siemens who has invested a lot in the united states is important. this is a national strategy but local and geographic. if you are in an area where you want to come but you want to make sure there is enough of the skill needs there, the idea you can partner with the united
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states, that we will work with the community college on the crimlum and the skill base you need. for you that fills a job and for us we are increasing the skill base of the country and that will benefit you and them in their next jobs as well. that is something we need to do. we could use that partnership and this dedemravend training that could be taylored to the particular needs of a region can be very important. there is nothing the president would like more than for somebody to say i will come locate here if you will help me ensure i have 300 more of a particular skilled workers here. i think he will say great we will take on that assignment and we will work with you. that is going to define our dedemravend training over the rest of his second term. >> it's a good segway talking about the local level.
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we're so fortunate to have so many folks from state and local levels here. i'd like each of you to share with us if you will your thoughts about the importance of state and local government. and bill, you obviously have retail stores all over the country and you are making decisions every day about where to put those stores based on demand. but also the welcomeness of the state and local government has an impact as well. any stories for us? >> the decisions i think that can be made at the federal level are more policy and environmental level climate decisions. the state and local decisions e brass tacks detail driven, rubber meets the road fashion. what has been fascinating to tch is the engagement of the governors and economic leaders.
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they are competitive and aggressive. they are advocates for their own geographies. it's been interesting to watch as we introduce them to the states and the dynamic between many of the governors. they are very competitive folks. so seing that is sort of encouraging because as gene said, they will do what they need to do to take care of the requirement that is you might have from a work force capability or from a natural resource capability. and so we see that a lot. and we see some governors very personally ininvesting their time and making decisions about that. and if anybody has any questions about who those are and where those r feel free to give us a call. we'll be happy to introduce you to anybody who has the resources
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you're looking for. >> you too come the country looking for places to invest. how important is state and local government to you? >> it's critical. the way i think about our company like so many great american global companies is we're a community company first and foremost. in the place where our founder founded us, it's a little town in the midwest in michigan. and we've taken the value system of a community into other parts of the country and exporting the values of one place to another is only as good as the partnership one creates at the very local level. so local government, communities. we have community advisory panels that we've had for decades really of neem our vicinity who can come in and look at our facilities and openly tell us how to improve. it wasn't that long ago we were smokestack industries and how to
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become sustainable manufacturers of the modern era you have to be in touch with local communities. at the state level, there are some states that are very probusiness and understand they are in the business of attracting business. they are in the business of providing jobs for their communities. aand the pace of business, they've adjusted. part of the problem and i think bill was eluding it to i want to touch on is that geography is long gone apart from natural resources as the topic deyour. a county boundary or boundary n. this world of connect ivet and fast decisions and fast change and you name the market, how do you actually get everyone involved in the decision making process at the pace of business to use a term chi actually love? and i do think therefore elected
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officials and making sure that they are partners and i'm not talking about which side of the aisle, i'm just saying locally, state, understanding this is the job creation world. and it's not yesterday's jobs. that we have to work with the union movements, work with all the local jurisdictions. we have to work with all the regulators but do anytime a way that creates the next wave of opportunities for that community. and i would say that is not perfect across the country. there are some states that do it better than others. we are in 40 states. so we should know not all equally. one of the things we do is make sure our partnership at the local level is not just one of advocacy but one of critique for self improvement. >> we have a different perspective because we are the finances ear of state and local governments of bonds. our job is making sure that each
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state and local community is as competitive as possible so they have the highest revenue base. we are advising quite a few municipal tiss and state how they can be a better place for employment. so our dialogue is quite different from the other panelists. but i can say from a firsthand experience when we decided we needed another data center, it was designed for two things. one we wanted another data center that was more green. so we had to look for areas in the country that was more reliant on energy through hydro. our first big data center there was. before that we had 20 different data centers. and the reason why we selected buffalo. obviously working with the state government related to that and the city, but also because of the expansion of hydroelectricity from that area.
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and so as i said earlier, this is a big opportunity for us. by having this center, we're saving over $3 million a year with the one data center and moving from data centers that were generated through carbon, having it at a renewable center is something our employees wanted. >> there are some best practices of state and local governments. we see the most successful opportunities occur when the state or the government, local government entity will appoint a project manager for each opportunity to sort of shepherd personal cell phone, give me the detail 24 hours a day. call us if you have an obstacle and we'll solve it. less successful are more standard, here's our package kind of thing.
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there are some best practices that the economic development officers have been sharing across the board and we see the success for those who are the most energy jet i can and to use the secretary's term move at the pace of business. >> the other area that comes to mind is infrastructure. i've spoke on the you about the importance of infrastructure. but maybe you could share a little bit about the importance of that and what more we can be doing here in the united states to make sure we are vesting in our infrastructure. >> so this is something near and dear to me. as i said, when i travel around the world, every leader of every country is looking for a way to find jobs. and they have a lack of capital for infrastructure and that's how they think they can create more jobs. one thing is very clear in so many countries, if you look at the countries that have great infrastructure, they generally
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have good infrastructure because there is a partnership between the public and the private. narrative that we have a a national policy for infrastructure building, and there is billions and billions of dollars of private capital that would like to invest in this. one of the great problems we have as an investor is we cannot find enough good high-quality investments that are long-term in nature. most of our clients'money is for retirement. 20, 30, 40 years out. it is hard to find a long-term investment. one of the things i have been screwing around world and spending time in washington is trying to make sure that we have ofolicy to build some type policy in which there is public and private hardship in doing this. we can do that going forward. i believe there would be billions of dollars of capital that would be going into the
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investment of this, side-by-side with state or local government or even the federal government, for instance, in ports and airports and in our grid. i could go on and on and on. if we have the money -- the money is there from the private sector. it is imperative for us in terms of creating jobs and high- quality jobs that we make this an emphasis in the future. >> andrew? >> i will take a plus, minus on this one. we have talked a lot about the u.s. economy from the context of like dow, blackrock, and many like us. i think american global corporations -- we have over 75,000 suppliers. you can imagine it is a big number. when you think about our ecosystem, most of us are at version 6.0. is, economy, 100 years ago
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does the forward, upwards and onwards. our infrastructure is about at 3.0. we have got something to do about that. other economies, like you said, larry, are putting in versions 6.0 in infrastructure but has not got their private sectors up that much. they will enter, but not enter where we are. they are licensing our technology. they learned from the mistakes we have made. nation states competing. other countries are going to catch up on the private sector side of it, especially if their infrastructure is advance. increase ourto infrastructure. many of us are involved in ideas here. this capital point he makes him of he is the doyen understanding that, and how we can model and maybe i can go to
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an example. and it works really well. it is a profit maker. it is a government arm, but a phenomenal example of how all things government are not bad, right? we need to figure out how we need to do that for infrastructure. we need to have a summit approach to that topic alone, because i think ports and rail and airports and all that, this is becoming a bottleneck. the positive side is the reason our energy market has become what it has become is because we have infrastructure. this country's pipeline and storage networks and energy, which is why so important we do not make sure we disable that -- that is why we have a domestic energy sector that is so competitive make a point. there is a proof positive to why your question is something we ought to tackle. >> we move products all around
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the world, and our supply chain is world class. it rides on infrastructure, and we see if researcher crossover world, and we have opportunities to improve the infrastructure. andrew's point is a good one. other markets are generations- skipping. stodgy picture. year life cycle became a 30-year infrastructure lifecycle. i think the investment and the discussion around revitalizing, rebuilding, is not an initiative, should not be an initiative, it should be a permanent fixture because the frequency of innovation and technology and infrastructure technology adaptation will continue at light speed as we advance over the next 10 or 15 years. it needs to be a base of what we do from a policy perspective.
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larry is dead on. there is a lot of private capital dollars ready to invest in that once we figure out the policy side. >> a reaction to what you have heard? >> obviously, we have heard this obviously larry organized a discussion for us that we had at the white house with investors around the world. he have responded in making sure have by tax laws -- we proposing ensuring that our tax foreigngenerous to a pension, as it would be to a domestic pension, so that is one important area. some of it is all of us working together because it is not just the supply of capital. it is making sure at the state and local government level that people can figure out ways to create a steady certain revenue stream that is what these
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andntial foreign investors others would be interested in. again, i think it is, as phil is saying, not limiting ourselves to a narrow view of infrastructure. to give you a small example, something that would affect a lot of different countries is the president is insuring an initiative that will happen, because it is regulatory, to the fcc, to ensure that every school in our country has enough high- speed broadband that every child who sits at their desk with an individualized learning device -- that is an infrastructure that if you put that in place him a bill is just saying what is a new exciting thing out there? if that is out there, the new exciting thing may an entire industry of lower-cost educational devices that every student has. now suddenly, you have education
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content among not from textbooks, etc. we obviously are very focused for jobs reasons and infrastructure reasons to improve our ports, roads, bridges. we need all that, and that is of fiscalidea strategy, of our tax laws. we're working on that. we keep our eye on the 21st century because that type -- one of the first mover jumps that the united states got at the end of the 1990 hot is our small businesses and entrepreneurs internet first and foremost. that generated a lot of inventory improvement, and growth and productivity spur we had. one of things i want to say, we are doing select usa here, but we learn from other countries. korea ist what south doing on universal broadband for schools. we listened, when the president did his in sourcing for them, he listened to other countries why
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they chose another country on things that we could have done better, and it has affected what we have done in this new reformed. we are trying to improve, but we are listening and learning, and if we do not mention something here, and it is something you think it's a efforts in your investment decision, please bother us. >> we welcome that. i am beginning to get the sign that our panel is coming to a close. before we end, i want to ask larry -- larry and i had dinner in the midst of the government looming potential calamity is we did not raise our debt ceiling, and you were frank with me and frank publicly as well about your perspective. andrew, you have been outspoken, and i have the opportunity to speak to your folks at walmart during this time as well. larry, maybe if you could share your respect to on what that does to the united states in
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terms of our reputation and potential for investment around the world and your perspective going forward. >> thank you, valerie. let me start and say i am bullish on america, but washington is making it more difficult for me to remain bullish. we are the standardbearer of printable's -- principles. democracy in america is a standard. countries worldwide look to the united states as a bearer of standards. we are the principal nation in the world, and by these hundreds -- ofrs up for the bulls principles, we have had the luxury of being the currency that is in trade worldwide. we are the reserve currency of the world. as a result, we have a luxury that we could borrow billions of -- trillions of dollars of money
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overseas. over 50% of the outstanding debt of the u.s. treasury -- i am not talking about the debt owed by the federal reserve at the -- that is issued by the treasury is held by foreigners. you have a narrative that is talking about default, a narrative of threat, it goes against all the principles and i would challenge anyone in the room -- can you go to the bank my say i will not pay love, what kind of behavior the bank will get back to you. we should expect that type of behavior if we continue to act in this petulant way, that we think we could use a statement of walking away from commitments, looking away from principles. and i was a source of many angry phone calls from many
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foreigners who have been investing billions of dollars in u.s. debt. do believe i have called the everybody down, but we're in the midst of another negotiation, as we speak. a process in which we are going to learn in january where we are again. this process has to be much smoother. it is important we drop the conversation about default. aboutportantly, i talk foreign aid, but i can tell you ceo's in the united states i spoke to, it does not matter what industry am a they are pausing, putting paws on hiring, they are putting a pause on investing, until they understand. the average ceo is five years in the united states. and so to build something that eight-is building, and
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10-yearght- or project to complete, you have to have confidence when building out for these hundreds of thousands of jobs. this narrative in washington right now is forcing everyone to on.a pause button i'm sure consumers in this country are putting the pause button at a very important time when we have christmas sales coming up. .o i am alarmed i remain to be alarmed. say,ne last thing i would if washington understood how many tens of millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted with every company setting up contingency plans if there was a default -- i had work streams working all weekend long the people working towards the what-if scenarios and what do we tell our clients, what does it mean if there is a default on u.s. treasuries?
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if one of the u.s. treasuries it's coupont payment, that is a water effect for all treasuries. if you have all these issues, and it has created a log of excess noise, it creates this uncertainty around how do we navigate? i am bullish on america. i think we have more opportunity in the next five years than we have had in the last 10. we meet the -- we need the narrative to be much more pro- opportunity and less narrative about talking about things about walking away from standards and principles. >> thank you, larry. and as you know, president obama >> -- president obama -- [applause] is allnt obama is
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for making sure that we pay our bills on time and we will do everything possible to avoid any future such crisis, because we would much rather, those of you who were doing contingency landing, were instead. out how to invest in america. that is what select usa is all about. i want to thank each of the panelists, larry, andrew, bill, gene, for taking time to be this morning, and our time is not finished, so thank you. [applause] on capitol hill, senate a nominationlocked of a person to be the next director for the federal housing
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finance agency. mitch mcconnell said we need somebody with technical expertise and who will protect against future bailouts. senator mcconnell said mel watt does not meet those standards. the senate also walk of its new its newest member today, the mayor newark city cory booker was sworn in as senator from new jersey. senator swearing in of booker, the makeup of the senate now stands at 53 democrats, 45 republicans, and two independents. more about cory booker. he was mayor of new work among new jersey, from 2006 until 2016. he earned a law degree from yale. off the floor, the senate homeland security committee held a hearing to review the background check and security clearance process for people
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working in government holdings. the top applicant on the committee pointed out that about 8400 people with top security clearances have tax problems. >> what is the answer? one of the answers has to be doing the job that we do better, number two, the other has to be that using data that is available. the form -- where is that form? bucks, you can20 get 90% of the information on the internet that is in this form. we pay $2400 for a top-secret clearances, is that right? aboutabout what we pay, $2400. >> for top-secret, it is more than that, more than $4000. >> for secret, what do we pay? >> 2620. 90%or $20 you can find out
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of the stuff online right now. the question is, they be we need to step back and say, first of too muchot way stuff classified, and how we are doing it is not utilizing data that is out there today that is readily available, number three is we have had a response from the director that they are going to court date with the irs -- most people would say that's kind of a no-brainer, that would be one of the things you want to check. it is in the form -- have you paid your taxes? it looks like nobody ever cross- reference that with the irs, nobody ever checked to see if that was accurate, and that is always a computer check. my question to you is, in my --creating the expectation that your clearance is tentative on the basis of you anding some type of renewal
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not knowing when that is going to be, the cia used to have random polygraph tests. they do not even have random polygraph tests now. you are noticed. i can pass any polygraph test drugs in me. we need to lessen the number of people who need a clearance. we do better clearing them, and then we need to create expectation that you will be randomly checked to see if in fact you still deserve to have that clearance rate that is the system, and the details are difficult. i am not saying it is not difficult. it we do what and how much costs and holding contractors accountable for doing the very job we are paying them to do does not seem to be happening. and my question -- i would like a response from you all -- how do we solve this? you all have laid out where we are, but how do we solve it? theve all these areas --
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form -- this form, three pages of instructions, seven pages where you live, five pages of name, 17 pages of employment, 29 pages a relationship, pages on foreign activity, to pages on mental health, eight pages of financial records from five pages on associations, and three signature pages. i know you are reforming the form. the point is we want to go for the gold. not all of this is first of all checked from a quality assurance number three, or number two, would be is can we create a process that gets to the gold and not rely on a form as much as we can data that is already out there that the government already holds? are you all amaze
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that 8400 people in this country have a tax debt that makes them former bold to die vaulting secret that or top-secret that i, and they have clearances today? does that bother anybody here? that puts us at risk. so my question is, is whoever wants to answer my broad commentary or least educate be any different direction, i would love to have it. hadohn foster dulles recently died when that super airport out in chantilly was being dealt, and president eisenhower immediately announced that the airport would be named ellis airport. when kennedy took over, he did not want to name it after a crusty cold-war person. you could still see the film clip of kennedy opening the airport with eisenhower there anyallan dulles there, pulls back a curtain that hides a bust of john foster dulles.
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i went to see it while i was writing this book, and i cannot find it. i started asking the security guards -- where is the big bust of dulles? nobody had even heard of it. it was a long process. next up a washington airports authority, i was able to discover that the must have been taken away from its place in the middle of the airport and it is now in a closed conference room opposite baggage claim number three, and i find this a wonderful metaphor for how that dulles brothers, who at one time exercised earth-shattering power and were able to make and break governments have now been effectively forgotten and airbrushed out of our entire history. >> with john foster heading state and alan at cia, the dulles brothers led both overt and covert operations for a good portion of the cold war. find out why the ramifications can still be felt some 60 years later, with stephen kinzer,
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sunday night at 8:00. expected to write and the turbo colon cancer until i was diagnosed at a relatively wasy age, at 36, and i astonished at how effort i thought it was, how different i was going through treatment than what i had heard about cancer or what i expected cancer to be. and i expected to join a well- will machine in which there were guaranteed, but people knew about my particular cancer, i would be followed, and what i found was something really different. and so i cannot help starting to read about it. >> a cancer survivor explores on economic impact on cancer american society, sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span
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2. >> the top or public in on the senate foreign relations committee said today that he is embarrassed by the obama administration's policy on syria and a lack of support to the syrian opposition. bob corker was addressing the ambassador to syria at this hearing. it includes an update on efforts to transfer syria's chemical weapons to international control. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> this hearing of the senate foreign relations on syria will come to order. we have two panels today. first panel is robert ford, ambassador to syria, the assistant administrator for the bureau of democracy atu assistant for international security and nonproliferation.
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our second panel we will have alabaster -- an ambassador for the center of the atlantic council. we welcome you all. i look forward in this hearing to hear your respective on the realities we face in syria, the state of play, the progress we have made, and where we go from here strategically, especially given the catastrophic human a tearing crisis that is spreading across the region. 7 million syrians have fled their homes. more than 2 million refugees have fled to surrounding countries. the regional impact is enormous. presence ofthe 750,000 refugees is equivalent to 58 million refugees entering the united states. syria000 refugees fleeing
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every day, for the sake of the region of the world we must find a resolution to this humanitarian crisis. now we read reports of the breakdown in syria's health services with the world health organization warning of confirmed aces of polio which will be that the iceberg and a setback in the campaign to eradicate polio warm wild. while players seek to address the humanitarian crisis, there is no one in sight. despite the fact that most of us today would agree that a negotiated settlement is certainly preferable to any military action or the collapse state,syrian state -- the lack of consensus on a traditional plan portends continued bloodshed and suffering. while the international community holds meetings about meetings, the assad regime continues its brutal assault on the syrian people backed by iran, russia, and hezbollah.
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the consequences of failure to achieve a political settlement are frightening. a field syrian state bordering iraq or lebanon, turkey, jordan, and israel becomes a haven or training ground for extremist roosts in an unstable region. i am concerned about what comes next strategically, at the political, diplomatic and humanitarian levels. i would like to hear what -- achieve could be going forward in your assessment of the conflict. will the geneva conference take place in november? how can it take face when the opposition remains fragmented? how can it take place without empowering a silent -- assad? what needs to happen for the plan,tion in a governance and will the u.s. recognize the syrian opposition speak for syria? how can we get when i should --
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how can we galvanize support by thosed is backed who see a different set of goals? what is the impact of the concerns raised by our partners about u.s. commitments to addressing the crisis? what are the consequences of a failed state in syria? some verytake note of important progress that was largely fueled by the vote of this committee for the use of force that allowed the president to make it clear of what would be his intentions that there could not be a negotiation, and that is the purpose we are making on destroying and dismantling the chemical weapons infrastructure supplied. today the confirms it has destroyed equipment syria used to make chemical weapons with. so far inspectors have visited
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21 chemical sites identified by syrian authorities within the timeframe specified. the two remaining sites are in contested areas where the challenge of getting there is more difficult, but i hope ultimately can be succeeded at as well. let me conclude by saying i want to make clear my views at the outset, the united states cannot and should not be the key that resolves every dispute in this region, but we have a very real strategic state in this region to make sure that syria does not become a failed state. we need to increase our humanitarian assistance and insist on humanitarian access as well as increase our support communities hosting syrian refugees in lebanon and jordan and to getting others in the international community to live up to their responsibilities in this regard. calling on donor nations to join us in this time of greatest need, because syria is a global problem. we need an answer to what we
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need to do to push all sides in this conflict toward a settlement and a future for syria does not include a thought. the people of syria, the region, and the world, and we need to have a comprehensive strategy and an answer to the basic question about what comes next? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses of both panels for being here today, and i look forward to your testimony, and i want to thank the committee. in your leadership, mr. chairman, we have had two really big stats that have taken place in this -- big steps that are taken place, and one was laying out a strategy, and regardless of how people voted, i think it was one of the finer moments of this committee, and, secondly, if you remember, i think everybody remembers secretary on september 3 asking for the authorization for the use of military force, which was passed out of this committee at his request and at the
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president's. secretary saidhe there was a strategy relative to syria. it was a strategy similar to what was laid out in this committee. obviously, things have changed pretty dramatically on the ground since that time. and with the issue of the chemical weapons, basically, as far as i can see, there is no real strategy relative to the opposition. formalizinge still that there is a strategy. i look forward especially to ambassador ford's testimony regarding the opposition. let's face it, guys -- what russianappened when the offer came forth was it was less about seizing an opportunity, and it was more about our country not having the stomach
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to follow through on a strategy over the longer term relative to syria. much hope that we are successful and think we will be relative to chemical weapons. but in the process, we have diminished our standing in the middle east. i think everybody watching understands that in essence we have thrown out any real strategy there and are just trying to figure out a way out of this. we have empowered assad. we have weakened ourselves relative to other issues in the middle east. -- i'mry this appointed very disappointed. i hope somehow inc. said our good come out of this for our nation, and i want to support any and every effort that is taking place. i think we ought to realize, there is no strategy right now for the opposition, none. there's no strategy. for that reason i'm a there is
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unlikely to be a very successful geneva ii conference, because who isn't we are going to be dealing with, who will we be bringing to the table? we have weakened ourselves. i hope there's a good outcome and hope there are other opportunities for this committee to be involved in these outcomes, but i look forward to our witnesses. her testimony, and i look forward to them helping us, help the administration and help our nation develop a better, longer- term and better long-term strategy for serious. i thank you for calling this hearing. thank you. ambassador ford, we will start with you. thank you, mr. chairman. corker and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to come and give you an update on the united states government's syria
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policy. i have submitted written testimony for the record. i have been alternating one week in washington and one week in the middle east for the last month, as we work to provide assistance to the moderate opposition, and as we push for political settlement. at the focus on those two elements, strategy with the opposition and focus on the political settlement, and i will tst my colleague's assistanc talk about humanitarian assistance issues. the conflict is a war of attrition. regime is suffering serious manpower shortages. it has brought in foreign fighters from hezbollah, from the iran revolutionary guard, and even iraqi shia militiamen. the moderate opposition that we support is fighting on two
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fronts, both against the regime ,nd against militants extremists directly linked to al qaeda in iraq, the same al qaeda in iraq that we used to fight. the battle front in syria is war, located now, but neither the regime nor the various opposition factions can throw a knockout punch in the foreseeable future. and our strategy is based on that assessment. secretary kerry, therefore, it working extensively with russia, with other concerned members of the international community, including countries like us that strongly support the syrian opposition, and he is working the united nations to promote a political solution. last week, on october 22 in london, 11 countries that strongly support the syrian opposition can together and we
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al reaffirms our support for negotiated settlement based on the full implementation -- and i want to underline that -- the full implementation of the june 2012 geneva communiqué. this full implementation of the geneva to medicaid is also what we have agreed upon during the summer with the united nations and the russian government. 11 the russians, the london countries, and the united nations all agreed that a geneva he's conference should result in transition thed governing body established by mutual agreement between the syrian regime and the opposition . this is a political solution which most syrians and those countries supporting the opposition and supporting the regime would back. we have confirmed with the russians during our summer discussions and among the 11 countries that just met in
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london that mutual consent -- i mentioned mutual consent to set up this government -- would mean the opposition has a veto on the formation and the details of that transition government. speaking frankly, no one who knows the groups that are resisting and fighting the regime now thinks they will ever accept assad. andregime also has a veto, so if we do get to a geneva conference, we can expect very tough negotiations. the syrian opposition has a role to play here. it needs to tell other syrians not only what it rejects, but what it proposes that in terms of your reasonable alternative to the existing assad regime. it needs to put that on the table. why? because many of the people who support the regime now do so
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fearfully. and i have heard this repeatedly from them, from people i have met. they want to know, is there a way out of the conflict? and the russians, who backed the regime, but say they are not wantto a assad, they too to see the opposition put forward an alternative. so the opposition has a lot of work to do in this regard. and that reasonable alternative is especially needed now, because of the growing competition between extremists and moderates inside syria. and, mr. chairman, members of the committee, i really want to emphasize that we have to weigh in on behalf of those who promote freedom and tolerance within the syrian opposition. people who resist the regime, al qaeda-so resist linked extremists. i said that last spring when i appear before you, and it is more true today. our nonlethal support of the opposition is vital, and it is a point that a support -- that a
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general has made me repeatedly. more broadly, since the start of the conflict we provided over 250 million dollars in nonlethal assistance the coalition and a range of social -- local counsel restaurant groups to help preserve institutions of governance in places where the syrian regime has withdrawn. as i said before, surrey prisons incredibly difficult -- syria presents incredibly difficult challenges. we will push forward on a political solution. we look forward to working with congress as we move ahead. i will be happy to take questions. thank you. -- andtary countrymen ments will betate included in the record. >> i want to thank the ranking member for this opportunity for review of the progress made in the elimination of syria's
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chemical weapons program. today was the date that the organization for the prohibition of conventional weapons is able to announce that it had met the first target date in the program completing the distraction of and fillingmixing, of equipment, and i agree with both of you that the action of this committee last month attributed notably to the results we have achieved so far. since you have my written testimony, i would like to make just three quick points. first, our timetable, our target aides are ambitious, but they -- our target dates are ambitious, but achievable. we have partners who are prepared to contribute financially and in terms of technology to achieving this goal. we have a very determined caudre of federal -- federal employments who are working hard to make sure that
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we have thought through a plan that is complicated, but achievable in terms of logistics and security. and i am increasingly confident that we will be able to complete this task, the elimination of program, within the target date of june 30 next year. secondly, a couple of key factors that will contribute to the achievement of that target date, and that so far are going well. first, we discussed back in geneva with the russians that the removal of dangerous precursor chemicals from syria, the bulk of which are not weapon eyes, not inside -- weaponized, not inside shells, are crucial to completing this task on time.
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the plan embraces exactly that concept, and we are confident that we will have a host country that can work with us to effect -- distraction outside of the distraction outside of syria of these precursor chemicals. secondly, our cooperation with the russian federation has so far been strong. we will continue to expect the russian government to press the syrian government for full compliance with its obligations. this will be essential as we move ahead. third, we continue this process with our eyes wide open. we are about to enter what could be the most complicated phase in terms of both logistics and security, that is, there are mobile of chemical precursors and large oddities from several sites within syria, to the coast, for removal on a ship to another country.
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that has both big logistical problems to think through and certain security risks. the same time, while the record so far is acceptable, we do not assume or take for granted that the syrian government will continue full compliance with its obligations. need opcwe tools we executive commission and the united nations security council. so.ntend to do that is why our statement here reflects the cost risk -- the cautious optimism that we have at this point. thank you, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. this,irman and then ranking member, and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today, and this is specially thank you for your support for
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humanitarian programs around the world. they're making a difference in the lives of many. testified seven months ago, there has been 30,000 additional deaths among the syrians. in the last year, the number of thans has traveled to more 100,000, and the number in need inside syria has gone to more than 6.8 million. this is equivalent to the total populations of vermont, new hampshire, maine, and connecticut combined. the pace of escalation is staggering. according to a recent u.n. report, in the two years of conflict, syria has lost 35 years of human development progress. ,ith the 2 million refugees this is a national crisis that has become a regional crisis about putting serious strains on neighboring countries. there is a toll on the syrian people, the kids who have not gone to school for two years,
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women who've endured rape and abuse, and the 5 million displaced syrians who do not have a place to live or enough to eat. at the crisis has escalated, we have accelerated a response, and our assistance is now reaching about 4.2 million people inside syria, and we are helping to support 2 million refugees. the same stubborn challenges that i talked about seven months ago, access, security, and resources, continued to prevent us and others from reaching everybody who needs help to get continues toed escalate. in early october, field by the momentum of the resolution to eliminate the chemical weapons, un security council unanimously passed a presidential statement on humanitarian access. this statement urges all parties to the conflict to facilitate immediate access to all those affected, including going across borders and across the front
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lines. this agreement or presents the first and the most significant show of global political will to help those who need it most. and the challenge now is to translate that commitment into real action on the ground. recent reports of starvation ----aigns right tha campaigns underscore the urgency. the u.s. government is working to mobilize the international community to act with the same intensity as it did around chemical weapons to ensure life- saving assistance reaches those who need it desperately. we are continuing to provide humanitarian assistance through all possible channels, through the u.n., ngo partners, through local organizations, and since usaid haslast year doubled the number of partners inside syria so we can we reach all.
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care, we have set up hundreds of medical facilities and treated hundreds of thousands of patients. we are working with an unbelievably courageous group of syrian doctors and health workers who put their lives on the risk -- lives at risk on the frontlines everyday every day. we are particularly concerned about the 10 cases of polio confirmed by who, and are calling on all parties to allow access for the vaccination hasaign that who now underway way. we remade the second largest donor of emergency food crisis. counterpart is are now reaching more than 3 million people in syria and a million refugees each month with food. there are millions more displaced. we are focused on protecting the
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most vulnerable, willman and children always very the worst in a war. this crisis is no exception. we have elevated our focus on the scourge of gender-based violence and work to provide assistance inside and in the camps. factorgle greatest limiting assistance remains the ongoing and intensifying conflict. you and estimates 2.5 million people in need have not received help in almost a year. the regime is actively - andading who commit - whole communities. we aren't urged russia and china supported this agreement, and we must now see that support translate into meaningful pressure. a quick word on the neighboring countries.
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atare working to combine development and humanitarian resources so we are providing help not just for refugees but for the host committees that are putting under the strain of this influx of refugees. we work closely with the international humanitarian donor community to make those resources count for the most. in conclusion, humanitarian assistance will absolutely not end the bloodshed in syria, that it is saving countless lives and it is alleviating real pressures in the region. or support has been absolutely vital, so once again, thank you very much, and i look forward to questions. >> thank you all for your testimony. we will start the round of questions. let me say, ambassador for, i heard her statement and i appreciate your incredible service, but i did not hear a strategy. att to me is challenging this stage. i understand that in syria there are not great options. this is a pretty bad hand that
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the region, as well of all those who care about it, have been dealt. but in the midst of that there has to be some effort of a strategy to get us to where we need to be. will attend geneva if there are no preconditions. that is a red line for the opposition. the opposition is fragmented, has its own worked offer -- has its own work to do to offer where that will come. assad is talking about running for president in 2014. he sees himself as an indispensable partner when it comes to the chemical weapons program elimination. in a war that you described in which there's no one to deliver a knockout punch, will continue to stand by assad. that,the face of all of what is our strategy?
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what is irish energy to get the russians, whether we need -- what is our strategy to get the russians, whether we need a stretch, what is our strategy to change their? calculus strategy to get the moderate elements of the opposition to be able to come together with a plan for the country? what is our strategy to be able ,o at the russians to help us assuming that can be done, to to ultimately leave? what is our strategy to move forward on the chemical weapons the structure and come as we are trying to do all these things not get -- i just do a sense that we have a strategy. i wish the oz reservation that this committee passed in may would have been used at that time because the dynamics were different. and i think we could have far effortsffected the
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towards a negotiation that we still aspire to. but the administration chose not to use that at the time. what thee a sense of strategy is, because i do not clean it from your remarks. >> senator, it is a two-track strategy. first, keep wishing to get the two sides to the table. but we understand that the assad regime is a very tough, brutal regime. nancy went to the details, the suffering inflicted on the syrian people. we'll have that pressure on the regime to get them to make concessions at the table. the pressure can come from a couple of places. one, it will, the ground, and so , the americans, have organized a group of 11 countries who are the primary backers of both the political and the armed opposition, and we coordinate our efforts on that, and we call that group the
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london 11. it includes the gulf states, european states, and the main backers of the syrian opposition meets regularly, boat at my level and at the secretary level. most recently, october 22. push for negotiations, but help the moderate opposition be in a position itself to press for concessions from the regime when it gets there. yes are source of pressure were below the russians. secretary kerry has talked with russian foreign minister laugher off. based -- laugher off -- lavrov. they speak several times a week on syria. the russians share an interest with us in syria about not aceng that country become a of extremism. they have their own national security interests in that respect. they are concerned about the leave,, were assad to
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becoming totally an anarchichal and talk about needing a manage transition. you cannot have that until the opposition is forward proposals that the russians and the others can look at, senator. otherwise we are in an absurd chicken and egg situation. i've been talking extensively to the opposition about putting some things on the table that the russians and the rest of the international community and, most importantly, other syrian's can look at to say -- >> give us a sense of what that would be that would assuage the syrian people and the russians tonight find this opposition? go,or example,, if assad to who would replace him and what would their authorities be? we have talked to russians extensively about what that would be, and we agreed with them that the new transitioning governing body will have the
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authority over the intelligence establishment, military establishment, or the financial charge of the country of the government. we agreed on that with the russians. now we need the opposition to come forward and say this is how we would put it together. very frankly, senator, they were so busy pushing us to intervene military a that -- militarily that they have less push to put this together, which should your letter this must come. were they to put that forward now, the russians would at least have an opportunity to study it. i do not think they would accept it at face value, but it is something where you can begin a process. that is our strategy -- to get a process started should -- started, were all of us, moderate opposition, the united states, international community, including russians, put pressure on the regime and the opposition to come to a final deal. >> let me say that in the midst
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of the civil war, having a desperate group of opposition the financial agenda needs a lot of assistance at the end of the day to achieve it. it also needs to have some understanding of what our baselines for the russians are going to achieve it and see if they cannot be commensurate at the end of the day. when i talk about a strategy, i would like to hear and i will move on to senator corker, but i would like to hear in some of what ourdetail effort is, because i just to not get the sense that we are headed anywhere there. one final question, mr. countryman, i applaud the work being done in the chemical weapons, is a major concern. but originally published reports had it he believed there were 45 sites, and as i understand it, the syrians declared funny three sites. -- declared 23 sites.
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how we are ensuring access to the entire inventory of what we believe exists in syria? >> thank you, mr. chairman. on your earlier comment, i wanted to say that while assad may see himself as indispensable to the elimination of chemical weapons, that is not our view. syria among the syrian arab republic of has accepted an obligation that is binding upon this government and binding upon the next government, each we hope to see soon. that is what increases the urgency of both destroying and removing chemicals as rapidly as possible so that the regime cannot cling to its fantasy that it is an essential part of the process. we have a strategy to move forward on chemical weapons distraction. we have a great advantage in
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this task over all the other tasks in syria, in that there is no opposition to it. russia, the regime itself, the opposition, the united states, and the world all want to see these chemicals removed and destroyed rapidly. it is therefore not a political issue, not an issue on which there is a decrease agreement -- a disagreement between the u.s. and russia, it is rather a logistical and technical issue. i would be happy to come back at any time and briefed on the details of how we will get to complete elimination by the middle of next year. weyour specific question, thatlong tracked the sites we believe are associated with research department, production, and storage of syria's chemical weapons program. the number of sites, as you note, that we have checked is more than 40. cw has talked this week
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both about visiting 21 of 23 sites and has also talked about visiting 37 out of 41 facilities. ,t is not just a semantic issue whether we are talking about sites and facilities, whether we are double counting. it is, as you know, a serious question that needs to be addressed. you have received only on monday -- seven-0 -- page page inventory of its holdings. we're studying it closely. it is a classified occupant that speakld be prepared to about in a classified setting, but we have the tools under the the un security council resolution to resolve any discrepancies between what we believe and what the syrians have declared. >> we will look forward to having a classified session to get to the bottom of how many of the sites we believe are going
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to be pursued. and what needs to be done. senator corker? chairman, formr. your opening statements. i appreciate it. you are a figure that is held up by many in syria and i want to thank you for having for us today because you have to be incredibly embarrassed at where we are and coming in and testifying, knowing what you know is happening in syria, to many of the people that you know. i know it has to be tough for you to do today. let me ask you this -- the opposition that you know personally in many cases -- are they faring better today since we moved towards trying to destroy the chemical weapons that are on the ground? are they faring better since we decided not to go ahead with military force than they were before this discussion began?
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they are deeply disappointed, senator, that we chose not to use military force. i have heard anguish from people that i have talked to over there. i have had to explain the administration's rationale. to themad to emphasize that our primary goal here is to find a political solution. i am not so concerned about the military force component. what i am concerned about is i would just like for you to tell me that since we have gone through this pursuit with russia, relative to mr. which ian's work, appreciate, is the opposition on the ground faring better or worse since we are now pursuing the destruction of chemical weaponry?